The wrong sort of snow?

anyone seen an airport around here?

anyone seen an airport around here?

For about a week now the meterologists and newspapers have been forecasting snow. So, when it fell yesterday it could hardly have been described as a surprise. Nevertheless, the traffic in Brussels was gridlocked and the airport effectively closed down in the evening, leaving many of the Committee’s members, trying to return homeward after the plenary session, marooned. I know how much I would have hated that and my heart went out to them all (some spent the night at Zaventum and some took over a day to find a way home). In Moscow I met a Russian diplomat who is now at the Brussels Embassy but was previously posted to Bern. He, used to Russian blizzards (and it’s true I saw the bulldozers waiting near the Kremlin), was ferociously critical of what he described as the ineffectual efforts of the Swiss to clear away the snow each winter. I wonder what he made of the Belgian effort….

3 Comments

  1. The broken down Eurostar trains, aka The Javelins, were not made in Britain but in Japan, where the temperature doesn’t usually fall below zero Celsius. (I checked the numbers for Tokyo but you may know different.) Therefore it is a reasonable guess that the Javelins have never been tested in severe weather. British made trains, on the other hand, have to survive routes like Settle to Carlisle and Inverness to Wick in the depths of winter, which is why I am happy to bet ten guid Scots pounds to your 2 Eurocents that British made trains would have worked perfectly.

  2. Martin

    21/12/2009 at 19:09

    What’s with the exchange rate? Sterling hasn’t slipped that badly! As to the trains, you could well be right. Their own explanation you’ll have seen in the meantime. Seasoned Eurostar travellers are aware, though, that they have a habit of breaking down anyway. The reason, I was once told, is that they have complicated electrics because they have to work on three different systems (UK, FR and BE)…

  3. I don’t think the euro trains actually are javelins… Iheard that somewhere, but that would be a valid point about javelins themselves….
    I’ve been over to Lille this weekend and just got back yesterday (we missed the problems, thankfully!), and personally, I think it’s very important to remember that the services were now still running, and if you look on the Ebbsfleet or any of the other station websites, they do actually provide this information, but services were reduced for user safety (so as to avoid the 5 trains in the tunnel thing), as much as anything else.

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